Mahammadu has studied and worked in veterinary medicine all over the world, from Ghana to Australia. Today, he is a PIPSC member and veterinarian working in Berwick, Nova Scotia.
After a successful career working as a laboratory technician, university teacher and veterinarian abroad, Mahammadu now works for the federal public service. As part of his job, Mahammadu ensures the humane treatment of animals and the safe exportation of meat products all over Canada and the world.
For him, it’s important that this work is done by the public sector so that producers follow the highest health and animal rights standards.
Mahammadu embodies these ideas in the work he does everyday, and started fighting for the rights of workers early in his career. When he started working in Ontario, immigrant veterinarians were hired at lower wages than workers educated in Canada.
“Here in Canada, what happened when I was hired is I was put at the lowest salary. Canadian trained graduates were put right at the top of the scale,” he says.
Mahammadu and his colleagues aren’t the first ones to experience this pay disparity in the workplace. He got in touch with his PIPSC representative and together we fought to ensure all veterinarians received the same fair wage. As a union, we work together to protect our fair pay scales and to ensure safe working conditions.
“I didn’t know much about unions; those days we didn’t have stewards but Employee Relations Officers,” he says. “Today as a steward, I get confidence in myself that I can stand up for my colleagues. I have seen the safeguarding of promotional standards and members know that there are always people around like me to stand up and help them.”
For Mahammadu, his work as a veterinarian and his work in the union are both important. Being in a union is important to him because collective advocacy promotes equality within Canada, starting at the community level.
“The union has been actively involved in advocating for our leave, pay structure, the Phoenix issue, and our work standards,” he said. “They guide us, get answers to our problems, and are strong advocates for our rights and equality.”
Mahammadu has been a trusted leader and change-maker in his workplace ever since he started advocating with the union for fair wages. From small-town Nova Scotia to the broader regions of Canada, our community veterinarians like Mahammadu make a big impact on our world.
“We as members form the union, and the union ensures that the values we stand for are maintained and preserved,” he says. “The union is there to support, advise, and stand up for our rights.”
Mahammadu has been an essential part of his group’s bargaining team, he works as a steward to help his colleagues resolve conflicts and issues at work, and he also contributes as an active member of the PIPSC Human Rights and Diversity Committee.
“A better Canada needs mechanisms in place that will promote equality and eliminate the barriers to equality; set standards for poverty reduction, provide proper education, good healthcare and the safeguarding of our pensions,” he says.
With members like Mahammadu at the forefront of advocacy, together as a union we are building more inclusive workplaces, and a more inclusive Canada.